Brain Injury Basics: Symptoms of Brain Injuries
If you think you or a loved one has sustained a head injury, it’s critical to know potential symptoms of brain injuries.
Knowing the symptoms can help you understand when a brain injury is possible so that you know to speak to your doctor about it. A 2003 Centers For Disease Control report to Congress noted that in many instances, persons with mild traumatic brain injuries fail to timely seek medical care because they don’t recognize their symptoms. Even worse, the report notes that once care is sought, many medical providers still fail to diagnose the head injury or recognize the severity of the brain injury. Knowing the symptoms of brain injury and looking for them in yourself or your spouse can help make sure a diagnoses is made as soon as possible.
Knowing the symptoms can also help you understand what you or your loved one is going through. Often, a spouse or loved one will become frustrated with the way injured person’s conduct. In those situations, it’s important to understand the symptoms of brain injuries and to know that the injured isn’t choosing to act that way. Instead, the injured has a serious condition with serious consequences and needs to get medical care.
There are literally thousands of potential symptoms of head injuries. If you come to our office with a potential head injury, you will be given a form that asks you about the following symptoms, which we commonly see in brain injury cases:
- Feelings of dizziness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Noise sensitivity (easily upset by loud noise)
- Sleep disturbance
- Fatigue/tiring more easily
- Feeling depressed or tearful
- Feeling frustrated or impatient
- Forgetfulness/poor memory
- Poor concentration
- Processing issues/taking longer to think
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision
- Reading problems
- Writing problems (writing letters out of order, etc.)
- Word recall/inability to remember words, names or numbers
If you have a head injury, you’re not likely to have all of these symptoms. Most people only have 2-3, and many only have one. What is important is to know the symptoms and look out for them following a wreck or other event.
Doctors had long thought that in cases of mild injuries these symptoms would slowly disappear as the brain heals. But new research is beginning to reveal that even mild brain injuries can have permanent damage and be related to long-lasting symptoms. For example, in the summer of 2012, a new study of brain injured veterans (and sadly, our veterans are now suffering too many brain injuries) found that symptoms of post-concussion syndrome can last for years. This and other studies are confirming what we see in our practice — even the most “minor” brain injuries can last a life-time.
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